Way Back When Magazine

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CONTENTS PAGE 3 LOVE HISTORY, TRAVEL SHIPS, BRIDGES & MURDER AT SEA 8. Historic Ships of England 14. The Art of Pride 18. Mutiny! 22. Kipling, Bridges, and a Promise 26. Tour a City of the Dead - Paris Catacombs 30. Headless Horses and Horrible Hounds 34. Haunted Hotels on the Jefferson Highway GRAVEYARDS, GHOSTS & HAUNTED HISTORY
CONTENTS Continued PAGE 5 BOOK NEWS & AUTHOR INTERVIEWS 54. World War II Stories 56. True History 58. A Visual History of Walking Sticks & Canes 36. The American Cemetery in Natchitoches 38. Historic Downtown DeRidder, Louisiana 42. Haunted History Adventures in Asheville 44. Bewitched by Salem 50. The Corpse Story of Mad Anthony Wayne GRAVEYARDS, GHOSTS & HAUNTED HISTORY


“If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.” Pearl S. Buck

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Big Blend’s WAY BACK WHEN Magazine, focusing on history, heritage, and culture. We’ve been hosting the Big Blend Radio WAY BACK WHEN podcast for over 15 years, and now it's time to add this magazine to our growing portfolio of digital Big Blend Magazines. After all, who doesn't enjoy a good, juicy gossip story? Isn’t that what history is all about? Who did what, how, where, and why?

A common favorite activity around the world is family history research. Who knows where that rabbit hole can lead to ... maybe across the sea to a foreign land? There's nothing like experiencing history in person. Whether it’s staying in a historic hotel, visiting a battlefield, a graveyard, or an ancient ruin site, it's a form of time travel, connecting our soul and senses with the past… and maybe even with our ancestors.

From England to Holland and around North and South America, this first issue delves into the deep and murky waters of historic ships, maritime history, mutiny, and the engineering of bridges. And, as we creep into the dark and chilly winter season, we thought you’d appreciate the features covering haunted destinations, historic cemeteries, and some wild ghost stories! Expert and author interviews are plentiful with conversations that range from battle strategy and World War II, to the craft of walking sticks, espionage and slavery, missing people, and political turmoil.

Here's to Shaping a Better Tomorrow by Understanding Yesterday!

Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith

Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, podcasting, and travel team. Keep up with all things Big Blend here: https://linktr.ee/BigBlend

BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Dutch ships in a lively breeze, 1650's, artist anonymous. Story on page 14.

The Mary Rose & The Victory

Mary Rose PAGE 9 PAGE 8

One of the things which we often overlook, when we think about our ancestors, is how they got from A to B.

We often hear about The Mayflower and The Titanic, but how many of us think about the conditions on board, for those who went across the Atlantic in the past?

I was fortunate enough, last week, to visit the Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth and see for myself, the living conditions aboard two ships from different periods.

Although they were both fighting ships, the conditions and space available would have been very similar for normal ships of the period too.

Restoring the H.M.S. Victory, by William Lionel Wyllie Glynn Burrows on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean
Continued on Next Page… PAGE 9 9

The first one was The Mary Rose and, although that was the most advanced ship in Henry VIII’s Navy at the time, it is still quite a small vessel, being between 110-148 feet long. (Exact measurement is not possible as parts of the ends of the ship did not survive.) It carried 60-80 guns and a crew of 400-500.

The story of The Mary Rose is well documented, so I won’t go into it all here, suffice to say that there was a battle going on in The Solent and the ship sank, together with hundreds of men. There are several ideas about why she sank, but nobody really knows at the moment.

The amazing thing about The Mary Rose is that she was discovered in fantastic condition, still full of everyday items and personal belongings. Half of the ship was buried in mud, preserving wood, leather, and bones, enabling us to get a detailed glimpse into the lives of the sailors on board.

The wreck was excavated during the 1970's and the timber structure was raised from the seabed in 1982, on a specially constructed metal frame. For those of us who remember watching the live TV broadcast at the time, the thing we all remember is the moment something gave way and the whole structure dropped and we could do nothing apart from wait and hope that nothing was damaged.

Visiting the museum, it was amazing to see the majority of one side of the ship sitting there in front of me, whilst on the other side of the walkway, there are the objects found in that part of the ship. Such things as wooden bowls, tradesmen’s tools, storage chests, arrows, china, cutlery, canon, shot, cooking pots and pans, etc, etc.

Journeying through the ship and the different decks, it is possible to see where the items in the museum cases were found and how they were used.

Ships Continued… The Victory

Seeing some personal things, like dishes with initials carved in them, trunks belonging to known tradesmen, and the backgammon set, gives such an intimate view of everyday life in 1545 and the realisation that these were real people whose lives were sadly cut short on that fateful day.

Sitting beside the Mary Rose exhibition hall is The Victory and that ship has a special place in my heart as it was Nelson's flagship and it is where he died in 1805. To see where he spent his last few days, to see the bed he slept in and the room where he prepared for his final battle, is a very special experience and to be able to explore all over the ship, makes me very glad that I was born in 1959 and not 1759. (Nelson was born in 1758.)

and that is when it is not being used. One can only imagine the noise, smell, and heat on those decks while the ship was at the height of battle.

Walking around the ship, the first thing I noticed was the distance between decks. I am under 5’10” and I had to duck to get under the timbers. For anyone over 6’ it would have been a real problem and any tall sailors would have almost certainly had a bad back with the constant stooping.

The ship is quite small, at only 227 feet six inches long, but it was packed full of guns and men, with over 100 cannons and a crew of around 850. There could not have been much room to move around, as the equipment takes up a lot of room

The Mayflower was only 80-90 feet long and carried over 100 people. It is thought to have had four decks but, with over one hundred people on board, it must have been terribly cramped. Ships of war would have required lots of provisions but could be restocked regularly, whereas a ship crossing the open seas, everything for the voyage had to be on board when it left shore and that would include water and food, together with animals and luggage.

Continued on Next PAGE 11
Cooking items found on the Mary Rose The main wheel and fire buckets on the Victory

If your ancestors went over the Atlantic in the C17th, they would have travelled for around two months, in terribly cramped conditions with animals and in very close quarters with all other passengers. Food would have been hard biscuits, dried meat, and beer. There would have been no heat, it would have been extremely unstable and the stench of people, animals, seasickness, and other illnesses would have been overwhelming.

By the C19th, things had improved with the arrival of steam power and better conditions, but there was nothing luxurious for most passengers. Communal living was common and overcrowding was the order of the day, as there was always the bonus of a few extra pounds (dollars) if some extra people could be squeezed in.

Food would have still been basic, because of the lack of refrigeration, so three-course meals with wine would have to wait till the C20th for most people.

If you are lucky enough to find out the name of

the ship which your ancestor travelled on, find out as much as you can about that vessel, or ones like it. Learn about ships of that period and what conditions would be like for passengers.

It will perhaps give you some idea about what your ancestors went through just so you can be alive today.

Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England where he provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. If you are thinking about taking a vacation to England, visit www.Norfolk-Tours.co.uk.

Tradesmen chest and items on the Mary Rose Ships Continued… One of the gun decks on the Victory Nelson’s Cabin on the Victory


The 17th Century began the heyday of shipbuilding and commerce. Navigation instruments had improved, and earlier maritime explorers had paved the way leading to confidence in long voyages to specific destinations.

Dutch ships were smaller than those of other countries but were very maneuverable and able to operate in shallow waters or high seas. With a long coastline on the North Sea and, indeed, established on a delta, using drainage and canals, Low Country people had an affinity for water travel, fishing, and, leading into the 17th century, for successful exploration and trade.

Living in a low, flat country, one may wonder “where did the Dutch obtain ship-building materials”. Most fine-grained hardwood for Dutch Ships came from tall oaks in the

neighboring Baltic States, especially Poland, and to a lesser extent from English oak forests due to frequent maritime rivalry. Logs were shaped into timbers with saws driven by windmill power.

In 1581, the Dutch residing in the lowland province of Holland revolted against the Spanish Crown who controlled the area and had imposed Catholicism on the Protestant-leaning Dutch. The Dutch East India Company, which was the major foreign trade and colonizing entity, already smarting at Spain’s increasing demands for higher taxes and greater percentages of profits, joined in the revolt.

After 80 years of bloody battles, a Treaty was signed.

Holland became the first European country without a king and a religious overlord. It was a

The Biblical Proverb, “Pride goeth before a fall,” could be applied to Dutch shipping of the 17th century. A Naval encounter between Dutch and Spanish

Republic governed by citizens that began to prosper and develop a middle class. There was a flourishing of art and commerce.

It was the first time in recorded history that the patrons of art were ordinary people, not Royalty or Religion. The subject matter of art changed. The Dutch became proud of their prosperity. Pride was reflected in their homes and possessions. Paintings of sailing ships, interiors of their houses, bowls of flowers, and prized livestock were common. Even paintings of people enjoying life like themselves were popular. Luxury items such as oriental rugs, exotic fruit, or polished silver were brought from foreign places via Dutch shipping.

The success and wealth of the Dutch were envied by other European nations, especially those with colonies that wanted to control trade in their colonies. In the mid-17th century, England passed several Acts of Navigation that restricted trade with England and attempted to gain control

of some colonies settled by the Dutch. New Amsterdam was a colony the British over-ran and changed its name to New York.

By the beginning of the 18th century, the Dutch were at war with England, that country was in the process of building its navy into the impressive size that allowed it to dominate the oceans for the next 100 years. During this same period, the Dutch experienced renewed conflict with France with whom it competed for commerce. Dutch influence was weakened, ships were lost, and trade declined although it did not stop.

17th Century Dutch Shipping was immortalized in paintings. Artists rendered accurate depictions of the classes of ships and their paintings give us a strong picture of life around the harbors, and the peril that sometimes arose due to weather and conflict.

Continued on Next Page…
Spanish Warships c. 1618-1620 by Cornelis Verbeeck, a Dutch Golden Age painter from Haarlem, Netherlands

Ships Continued…

Dutch ships in a lively breeze, 1650's, artist anonymous Dutch Fluyt, 1677, by Wenceslas Hollar
Ships in Distress off a Rocky Coast, by Ludolf Backhuysen, 1667 Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at www.ArtistVictoriaChick.com Victoria Chick on Big Blend Radio: Listen here the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Two Authors Discuss Their New Books Covering Historic True Crime Stories of Murder at Sea



On the night of June 1, 1743, terror struck the schooner Rising Sun. After completing a routine smuggling voyage where the crew sold enslaved Africans in exchange for chocolate, sugar, and coffee in the Dutch colony of Suriname, the ship traveled eastward along the South American coast. Believing there was an opportunity to steal the lucrative cargo and make a new life for themselves, three sailors snuck below deck, murdered four people, and seized control of the vessel.

“Mutiny on the Rising Sun: A Tragic Tale of Slavery, Smuggling, and Chocolate” (NYU Press) by Jared R. Hardesty recounts the origins, events, and eventual fate of the Rising Sun’s final smuggling voyage in vivid detail. Starting from that horrible night in June 1743, it narrates a deeply human history of smuggling, providing an incredible story of those caught in the webs spun by illicit commerce.

The case generated a rich documentary record that illuminates an international chocolate smuggling ring, the lives of the crew and mutineers, and the harrowing experience of the enslaved people trafficked by the Rising Sun.

Smuggling stood at the center of the lives of everyone involved with the business of the schooner. Larger forces, such as imperial trade restrictions, created the conditions for smuggling, but individual actors, often driven by raw ambition and with little regard for the consequences of their actions, designed, refined, and perpetuated this illicit commerce.

Jared R. Hardesty is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Western Washington University and author of "Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston" and "Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds: A

History of Slavery in New England." He discusses his latest book, “Mutiny on the Rising Sun.” Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean, or YouTube.

Continued on Next Page… PAGE 19


On an October Night in 1905, a horrifying scene was found on a wooden vessel off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Onboard the Harry A. Berwind, one crewman lay dead, his blood streaming down the deck. The four officers all were gone—murdered, too, it would turn out, their bodies dumped into the sea. Only three sailors remained alive, one tied up, all telling different stories, all blaming each other. The three sailors were Black. The dead officers were white.

So began a legal spectacle that would captivate much of the nation’s press and fuel a sensational trial in Wilmington. It was in Wilmington, after all, that shocking racial violence had occurred not long before, and now the city remained in the clutches of white supremacists. Most observers could have predicted a quick verdict and a triple hanging . . . if not an even quicker lynching.

Yet the legal drama would defy predictions, lasting seven years, reaching the Supreme Court, pulling in presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—then even being twisted into a fanciful, big-budget movie. In the end, so many participants—from jurors to lawyers to politicians—acted against type that justice had a fighting chance.

Charles Oldham, attorney and award-winning author of “The Senator’s Son,” discusses his new and historic true crime book, “Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice” (Beach Glass Books). Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Books Continued…
Continued on Next Page…. PAGE 23

Quick quiz. What does Rudyard Kipling, a collapsed bridge and Engineers have in common?

Answer: They inspired the ceremony of the Iron Ring for Engineers

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

As Kipling said: The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer has been instituted with the simple end of directing the young engineer towards a consciousness of his profession and its significance, and indicating to the older engineer his responsibilities in receiving, welcoming and supporting the young engineers in their beginnings.

Rudyard Kipling authored the obligation that is recited at the “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.” A collapsed bridge is said to have been the inspiration for the Order of the Iron Ring.

The planning for the bridge in question began in 1903, a time of women’s rights, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Sherlock Holmes, and the Niagara Falls running out of water because of a drought. The world was one of wonder, possibility, and achievement!

The planned bridge spanning the St. Lawrence was supposed to become one of the wonders of the world. It would be beautiful to look at; a cantilevered marvel that would have been longer than the Firth of Forth Bridge of Scotland.

The Canadian government promoted it as a shining example of achievement, part of their goal of linking the country from coast to coast. When it collapsed, the city of Montreal 10 miles away felt the shock waves, and the government

Kipling Continued…
Lea Brovedani on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. Rudyard Kipling by Eliott and Fry

of Canada felt the political aftershocks.

The collapsed bridge is a story of bureaucracy, incompetence, and cost-cutting. Experienced engineers who brought up problems were fired or ignored. After four years of construction, it took only 15 seconds for the bridge to collapse, killing 75 people. 35 were Mohawk steelworkers.

When my husband Ric received his ring in a ceremony when he graduated, all the engineers held on to a chain symbolizing the links to each other, the past and the future, and to the responsibilities they all had. The ceremony is part of the graduation for engineers in Canada, and for most of the graduates, it is coveted more than their Diploma.

In 1926, the ceremony of the ring was adopted in the United States but is not part of the engineering graduation. Right now, according to J. Derald Morgan, P.E., chair of Order of the Rings 2008/2009 National Board of Governors, one in three engineering seniors nationwide join. That is up from one in 20 when it was first brought to the US, so they are pleased and hope to see that number grow.

When you read about the ring ceremony do you feel like me? You trust bridges believing that they are safe to travel across. Trust is built from a combination of caring, commitment, competence, consistency, and communication. Each of those values is important and knowing that my safety is part of the ethics and standards of the engineering profession gives me trust.

I wonder if part of that trust is built upon a simple ceremony that demonstrates how important integrity, honor, and commitment are to what the engineers do.

Lea Brovedani is a speaker and workshop facilitator on trust who is recognized as a Top Thought Leader on Trust for by the organization Trust Across America and is the author of “TRUST Me – Restore Belief & Confidence in an Uncertain World” and “TRUSTED – Secret Lessons from an Inspired Leader.” Lea appears on Big Blend Radio every third Thursday. More: https://leabrovedani.com/

Quebec Bridge collapse

I’m typically not drawn to ghoulish or gruesome attractions, even on Halloween. But morbid curiosity got the best of me during a recent trip to Paris. It was there, in the magnificent French capital, that I learned of the Catacombs and immediately knew I had to explore this “Empire of the Dead.”

The Paris Catacombs has a fascinating history, which I discovered during a self-guided audio tour of the place. It all began in the late 18th century when public health problems and overcrowding issues connected to the city’s cemeteries necessitated the decision to transfer the remains from several large graveyards to an underground site.

The authorities selected former subterranean quarries that at the time were located just outside Paris. They proceeded to move thousands upon thousands of bones five stories underground into the quarries. In this manner,

they actually achieved a more hygienic and efficient method of dealing with human remains.

The site was officially denoted as the “Paris Municipal Ossuary” in 1786, but it became better known as the Catacombs. The name was most likely attributed to public fascination with the earlier discovery of the Roman Catacombs. In 1809, the city opened its Catacombs to visitors and it eventually became a tourist attraction. There was a period of time, though, that it was “lost” and forgotten about, only to be rediscovered when the Paris Metro was being constructed.

There are over six million people buried in the Catacombs, in a vast maze of limestone tunnels and old caves. The part that’s open to the public consists of about a mile. This only represents a tiny section of the entirety of this extensive network.

Continued on Next Page…
Skulls abound!

To reach the Catacombs, you’ll go down a long spiral staircase leading to the quarries. As you pass through the tunnels, many of which are dark and narrow (those with claustrophobia take note), you’ll see multitudes of skulls with gaping eye sockets and grinning teeth, human femurs and other bones, tightly packed in and around the sides of the walls. They line the walkways and some form mosaic patterns, while others appear to be lumped together in stacks. Sometimes they’re behind metal grates and if you look up, you’ll see some under the ceilings.

Along the way, you’ll come across signs that state the source (the cemetery) of a certain set of remains and the date they were exhumed. And in true French artistic fashion, there are poems and philosophical sayings about death and mortality, helping to narrate your journey.

It’s a bizarre and definitely macabre spectacle, but also oddly fascinating.

I wondered about the people and who they were, knowing nothing beyond the fact that many were victims of the plague. The anonymity of this memorial, though, made the experience impersonal for me. And I was able to view it from more of an archaeological perspective, instead of some creepy, disturbing scene. Thankfully, I’ve had no nightmares as a result!

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

Catacombs Continued… Some of the bones are heaped in piles Skulls placed in a cross pattern
Signs indicate the source of the bones and when they were exhumed The multitudes of bones are overwhelming
Large memorial in a crowded Churchyard

Ghost stories abound in England and many of them are so fantastical, they make the Harry Potter films appear to portray real life.

Our first story relates to one of our most famous Queens, Anne Boleyn. She was born in Blickling Hall in Norfolk and because she didn’t provide King Henry VIII with a son, he had her beheaded. Her ghost is said to return every year on the anniversary of her execution and she is said to arrive, with her head in her lap, at the house in a coach driven by a headless horseman.

Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, is also said to haunt the area, having been cursed for taking no action to prevent two of his children from being executed by Henry VIII. Each year his ghost has to attempt to drive his coach and horses across

12 bridges before cockcrow. His frantic route takes him all around the countryside and, just in case that isn’t enough, the horses are all headless.

Felbrigg Hall is another beautiful house in Norfolk and one of its inhabitants was William Windham III. Continued on Next Page…

Glynn Burrows on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Anne Boleyn Hever Blickling Hall

He was a real bibliophile and his ghost is said to be seen in the library, reading the books which he didn’t have time to read while he was alive. The story of his demise is very sad indeed, as he was present when a fire broke out in a friend’s library and William was very badly injured trying to save books from the flames. He died a few weeks later.

Yet another of our beautiful houses, at Oxburgh, is home to a story of a jilted lover. A Countess roams the North Bedroom and staircase and the story goes that she killed herself by jumping out of the bedroom window, and drowning in the moat. Visitors have seen a woman dressed in Tudor style walking on the grounds, even though there were no costumed volunteers around at the time.

One of Norfolk’s most famous ghosts is Black Shuck. That is the name given to the black dog which is said to roam the coast and countryside of North Norfolk. Just one of many ghostly black dogs recorded in myth and legend across Britain; this version describes how his howling makes your blood run cold and, if you catch a glimpse of him, it is a sign that you will die within the year.

Some ghosts are horrible, but others are much less frightening.

The legend of Fiddler's Hill tells the story of a violinist who decided to investigate a ghostly monk who would be seen each night, coming out of a tunnel that appeared to run between Binham and Walsingham. The fiddler and his dog wandered into the village of Binham and, after hearing tales of the ghostly monk, decided to investigate for himself and collected a band of villagers to watch him and his dog enter the tunnel hoping to locate the Priory's spectral visitor.

Before he disappeared into the tunnel, playing his fiddle, he instructed villagers to listen out for his music so they could follow his progress as he

Overgrown graveyard in Cambridge North Tower of Oxburgh Hall overlooking the moat
Headless horses Continued… PAGE 32

walked underground. At Fiddler's Hill, the music stopped. No one was brave enough to venture into the tunnel in order to see if the fiddler was safe and after a long wait, the fiddler's dog appeared in a sorry state: his tail between his legs, shivering and whining. The Fiddler was never seen again.

The same night, a violent thunderstorm battered the area, and the next day, the passage entrance had been completely destroyed. The Thetford and Watton Times of April 15, 1933 added an extra layer of intrigue to the story: "Is the old legend of Fiddler's Hill, Warham, true?" it began, "What appears to be surprising confirmation of it has been brought to light by Norfolk County Council men working on the roads. They have discovered in a mound at the crossing of the Wighton and Stiffkey road and the Binham and Warham road, the skeletons of a man and a dog."

One place which always shows up in horror films is the misty, overgrown graveyard and we have thousands of them in the UK. Many graveyards, cemeteries, and burial grounds have fantastic memorials, with carvings of angels and other objects.

As many of our Churchyards have been used to bury the dead for well over a thousand years and are surrounded by ancient trees and hedges, they often become overgrown and are frequently quite dark and have that classic old movie feeling.

Saying all of that, I don’t know of any ghost stories based in a graveyard, they are all in houses, pubs, and other buildings or surroundings, so, if you want to see a ghost, avoid graveyards!

Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England where he provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. If you are thinking about taking a vacation to England, visit www.Norfolk-Tours.co.uk

Oxburgh Hall North Tower

This episode of Big Blend Radio's 4th Thursday "Jefferson Highway" Show focuses on Ghost Stories and Haunted Hotels on the Jefferson Highway. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Featured Guests:

- Roger Bell, President of the Jefferson Highway Association and guide of the Muskogee Ghost Tour in Oklahoma.

- Matthew Komus, author of "Haunted Manitoba" and "Haunted Winnipeg," and guide of the Winnipeg Ghost Walk. More: https://www.winnipegghostwalk.com/

Created by the Jefferson Highway Association

which was originally founded in 1915, the Jefferson Highway is an international highway, also known as "The Pines to the Palms Highway," that runs from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn more at: https://jeffersonhighway.org/

Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg by Roger Bell

A Historic Landmark in Natchitoches, the Oldest Settlement in Louisiana

The American Cemetery in Natchitoches, LA PAGE 10 PAGE 36

Focusing on the historic American Cemetery, this episode of Big Blend Radio’s 3rd Tuesday “Go to Natchitoches” Show features Scotty Williams with the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest LA History Museum in downtown Natchitoches, Louisiana. Every first Friday, Scotty leads a free walking tour of the American Cemetery. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Established around 1737, the cemetery is said to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. Over the years, planters, businessman, politicians, and educators have all made their mark on Natchitoches and the surrounding area. The markers in the cemetery tell stories of the region’s people and act as an outdoor museum dedicated to their legacy. Legend has it, that St. Denis, the town’s founder, is buried somewhere on the grounds.

The 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed in and around Natchitoches. The story comes from Robert Harling who grew up in Natchitoches and lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that experience into the iconic stage play “Steel Magnolias,” which was then adapted into the

famous film directed by Herbert Ross, starring A-list actors Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, and Daryl Hannah. The filming locations are part of the Natchitoches Film Trail, and one of those noteworthy sites is the American Cemetery, where the scene of Shelby’s Funeral was filmed.

Founded in 1714, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana. Home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, it is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and is the final destination on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

For more about The American Cemetery Tours with Scotty call (318) 357-2492 or visit the event calendar on https://natchitoches.com/

The American Cemetery in Natchitoches, LA

A few months before the pandemic, we spent a couple of weeks exploring Louisiana’s beautiful and culturally diverse No Man’s Land. This region draws its name from the area’s brief stint as the Neutral Strip between Spain and the United States following the Louisiana Purchase. When the United States purchased the territory from France; Spain and the U.S. were in conflict over the boundary south of Natchitoches. The region’s use as an official buffer between Louisiana and Spanish Texas lasted roughly from 1806 until the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty that established the Sabine River as the territory’s western boundary.

Sometimes described as a place filled with an outlaw culture or as a region with a reputation

for being a tough and isolated place, the region is better understood as a stronghold for those cultural groups who wished to find a home where they could preserve a way of life, they cherished in Louisiana’s No Man’s Land. Today, No Man’s Land is the place where the pirate met the cowboy, and where Native Americans, French, Spanish, Africans, Creoles, Cajuns, and American pioneers from the South and West met to build communities and a culture like no other.

You can experience No Man’s Land by visiting the communities that makeup Allen, Beauregard, Desoto, Lake Charles, Natchitoches, Sabine, and Vernon Parishes. We were touring Vernon Parish with the late Marci Cook of Vernon Parish

Timber, Trains, a Gothic Jail, and Three Thousand Dolls! A “Law & Order” Love Your Parks Tour Story assigned by San Diego attorney Ward Heinrichs and compiled by Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s motherdaughter duo
Continued on Next Page… PAGE 39
Caboose at the Beauregard Museum

Tourism. A passionate advocate for the historic and cultural roots of the region, she wanted us to not only experience her community of Leesville that’s home to Fort Polk, but also the neighboring city of DeRidder, the parish seat of Beauregard Parish. Part of the Louisiana Myths & Legends Byway, both Vernon and Beauregard Parishes are connected by Kisatchie, the only National Forest in the state.

Our first stop in DeRidder was at the Beauregard Museum where we met with Elona Weston. The museum is housed in the second Kansas City Southern Depot, built in 1926. A repository of local history that shares the stories of the people who make up the community, the museum’s exhibits and collections feature handmade tools, artifacts from the timber industry, old photographs, Native American arrowheads and pottery, military memorabilia, antique furniture, and musical instruments, plus, a stainless-steel caboose in the courtyard. Take a listen to our Big Blend Radio interview that was recorded on-site with Elona and Marci. Listen here on YouTube.

Next up, was a creepy crime history experience at the Historic Gothic Jail where we met Cleo Martin. Built in 1914, in the Gothic Revival architecture style, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 17, 1981. You may have seen this former jailhouse in the horror movie “Mercy,” on the Travel Channel’s “Most Terrifying Places” show, or on the Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Brothers: Lights Out” paranormal series. Indeed, it’s had its fair share of ghost stories and legendary sightings. On March 9, 1928, after a double execution hanging in the jail, it became known as "The Hanging Jail.“

The two men who were hanged, Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux, had been found guilty of murdering a local taxi driver for his fares. You can see the actual hanging site down the stairwell when you visit the jail. Hear all about it

DeRidder Continued…
Dolls from around the world on display at the Lois Loftin Doll Museum

in our Big Blend Radio interview that we recorded on-location at the Beauregard Tourist Commission, located next door to the Jail, and home to the Lois Loftin Doll Museum which features a collection of over 3000 dolls. That’s over six thousand eyes looking at you…. Listen here on YouTube. http://www.beauregardtourism.com/ https://visitnomansland.com/

Plan your visit to DeRidder:

The Gothic Hanging Jail in DeRidder, Louisiana https://beauregardmuseum.org/

From creepy hiking trails and cemetery wanderings to ghost tours and annual Halloween celebrations, this second episode of Big Blend Radio's 1st Tuesday "Adventures in Asheville" Show shares ghostly destinations and some frightfully haunting stories of Asheville, North Carolina. Featured guests include Steve & Karen Wilson of The Lion and The Rose Bed & Breakfast, and Uncle Ted White from Gray Line Trolley Tours. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Plan Your Asheville Adventure: https://lion-rose.com/ https://graylineasheville.com/
Gray Line Trolley Haunted History & Murder Mystery Tour

Bewitched by Salem

Bewitched Statue PAGE 44

handsome beauties are very photogenic. You’ll also pass by the Ye Olde Pepper Candy Shop. Put it on your list to visit, as it’s the oldest candy store in the country and you’ll definitely want a tasty souvenir.

At nearby Winter Island, there are bunkers that stored ammo during WWII, as the place served as a military installation. Get your leis ready as you drive by the island’s own Waikiki Beach, sans the tropical breezes.

I also highly recommend doing the A.M. Coffee Walk with Salem Food Tours. Owner Karen Scalia combines her passion for food with history and gives a great orientation to the city’s past and present. She is a wealth of knowledge and has

You might be surprised to learn that Salem is a town of firsts. The country’s first millionaire, Elias Derby, was from here and this is where Alexander Graham Bell completed the first successful long-distance telephone call. Salem is also the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard and it’s where Parker Brothers produced the game “Monopoly.”

One of the stately homes on Chestnut
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Salem’s Parker Brothers

The Coffee Walk covers Salem’s spice history, too – a period that spanned the end of the American Revolution to the War of 1812. Thanks to Captain Jonathan Carnes, who sailed into town from Indonesia with a load of pepper, Salem became the center of the spice trade in North America. To conclude the tour, you’ll visit Salem Spice for a spice and olive oil tasting session.

Salem’s most popular witch trial-related attractions are the Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch Trials Memorial, and Witch House.

It’s hard not to notice the Witch Museum, as the building, a historic church, is very imposing. The museum was created to help people understand the true story behind the events of 1692.

The witch trials were incited by mass hysteria among the area’s deeply religious populace regarding witchcraft in their communities. Two young girls started the chain reaction after

Broomsticks for sale at the Pentagram Spice Tasting at Salem Taste with Karen Scalia of Salem Food ToursSalem Continued…

demonstrating uncontrollable fits of rage. A doctor diagnosed witchcraft as a possible ailment. Fingers were pointed and within months, nearly 200 people were accused of the crime of witchcraft. Nineteen of the condemned were executed by hanging and one was pressed to death by stones. Several others died in prison awaiting their fate.

In the first part of the museum, you’ll sit in a darkened room and watch the aforementioned events unfold on life-size stage sets, offering an immersive presentation. The second part of the museum delves into the development of witchcraft beliefs in Europe and the evolution of the image of witches, then focuses on the terrifying aspects of modern-day witch hunts.

In the Witch Dungeon Museum, you’ll observe a live reenactment of an actual witch trial, followed by a guided tour of a recreated dungeon with all its abject conditions.

The Witch House is the 17th-century home of Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin, who lived here with his family for over forty years. It’s the town’s only remaining structure with a direct connection to the terrible events of 1692 and as such, is one of Salem’s most recognizable and photographed buildings. Contrary to its name, there were never any convicted or accused witches living in this house. The place, however, is rumored to be haunted.

I was most impacted by the Witch Trials Memorial. The memorial is strikingly simple, yet powerful. At the entrance are inscriptions in stone of the victims’ protests of innocence. A granite wall creates a perimeter, within which are stone benches bearing the names and execution dates of each of the twenty victims. It’s an enduring tribute to these individuals, who chose death rather than compromise their personal truths.

Salem Witch Museum
Continued on Next Page… PAGE 47

Two of my favorite non related-witch attractions in Salem are the House of Seven Gables and the Peabody Essex Museum. The House of Seven Gables is a colonial, large timber-framed home (circa 1668) that is best known for being the setting for author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s celebrated novel of the same name.

A Salem citizen, Hawthorne spent his formative years living in the community before returning to it later in his life. The town and its history had a profound impact on him and served as inspiration for a number of his books. Interesting to learn is that the author was so ashamed of his Puritan ancestors and their unsavory actions that he changed his name from Hathorne to Hawthorne to distance himself from them.

distinction of being the oldest continuously operating and collecting museum in the U.S. It possesses a staggering number of works of art and culture, from maritime and American art to Asian and African collections and boasts the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside China.

The museum’s collection of “Salem Stories” is especially noteworthy. It’s a compilation of vignettes about the people, places, and events that shaped the area, with paintings, manuscripts, artifacts, even a specimen of an ancient leatherback turtle, and more.

You’ll definitely work up an appetite seeing all the sights in Salem. Good to know that the town has a vibrant culinary scene. Seafood reigns supreme, which was music to my palette.

The site, which also includes Hawthorne’s birthplace, is designated a National Historic Landmark District. Take time to meander around the lush grounds and admire the seaside view.

The Peabody Essex, which is centered on the historic East Marine Hall of 1825, has the

Chowder and lobster are mainstays on many menus in town. Red’s Sandwich Shop has a Lobster Mania selection, where you’ll find this tasty crustacean in rolls, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac n’ cheese, on pizzas, and in sliders. Decisions, decisions!

Get your palm read at PentagramHouse of Seven Gables Salem Continued…

I had memorable dinners at both Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall and the Adriatic Restaurant. At Turner’s, it’s all about New England's fresh catch of the day fare. Offerings are extensive with everything from stuffed shrimp and sashimi to fish cakes and crab pie.

Mediterranean-inspired fare is the specialty of inviting Adriatic. The menu features delicious brick oven pizzas, all kinds of pasta, and fresh seafood. After dinner, walk off your meal on one of Salem Night Tours,’ the “Haunt and History Tour.”

As we strolled the streets, our guide regaled us with spooky legends and purported hauntings of various buildings in town. It was a full moon that night, which heightened the eerie quality of the experience and upped the goose bump ante.

You can shop till you drop in Salem, especially if you’re looking for magic and occult-themed items, or Halloween merchandise. Harry Potter fans will want to make a beeline for Wynott’s Wands, where handcrafted magic wands have been elevated to an art form. And there’s no shortage of psychics in town, who will be happy to do a reading for you.

When it comes to accommodations, you’ll be pleased to know that Salem has a variety of options. I chose to stay at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, an iconic, Colonial Revival-style property that has been a landmark in town for a century.

Over the years, the place has attracted numerous celebs and former presidents. But its fame really skyrocketed when the cast of the popular T.V. show, “Bewitched,” stayed at the hotel to film scenes for “The Salem Saga.” There are framed photos of the event and even of the menu created by the hotel’s chef to commemorate the occasion, with such dishes as Green Goulish Stew (fish chowder), Fried Salamander (fried shrimp), and Eye of Newt Ambrosia (zucchini squash).

If you go: www.salem.org

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

Witch House courtesy of John Andrews

A Strange Journey Home

A “British Connection” Love Your Parks Tour Story assigned by Glynn Burrows of Norfolk Tours in England, and compiled by Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s Mother-Daughter Duo
Anthony Wayne 1745 - 1796 PAGE 50

It was at the cusp of summer and fall of 2020 when we visited Erie, Pennsylvania, “The Flagship City.” As full-time travelers on our Love Your Parks Tour, our main goal is to visit and document as many parks in the USA, and when setting up our stay at the historic Spencer House Bed & Breakfast, innkeepers Steve and Lisa Freysz gave us a list of places to experience including Presque Isle State Park.

They also recommended that we take a walk down their street, dubbed “Millionaires Row,” to the Watson-Curtze Mansion at the Hagen History Center. We highly recommend a visit to this museum complex as one of your first destinations in Erie. It will give you a glimpse of the diverse and historic story of Erie which includes the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Lake Erie, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Erie Canal, and the Industrial Revolution.

And then when you visit Presque Isle State Park, explore the historic downtown, soak up the public art and all of the other sites, you’ll appreciate the history even more.

The history runs deep, in fact, there’s so much history that during our short stay we visited Presque Isle State Park and the Hagen History Center twice!

One of the stories that caught our attention was that of controversial General Anthony Wayne’s “Strange Journey Home.” On display at the Wood-Morrison House at the Hagen History Center is Mad Anthony Wayne's Pot & Chair (pictured above). Of British descent (Ireland & Wales), Anthony Wayne was a soldier, officer, statesman, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

on Next Page….

Mad Anthony Wayne Pot and Chair

His military career started in the Revolutionary War where he served in the Invasion of Quebec, the Philadelphia campaign, and the Yorktown campaign. His wild military exploits and explosive personality earned him the nickname “Mad Anthony Wayne.”

While he has been heralded as a military hero over the years, his actions against Native Americans and his ownership of slaves have somewhat bruised his reputation.

Suffering from gout, it’s said that Wayne died in a chair in Erie (the one in the exhibit) on December 15, 1796, during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit. Wayne was buried at Fort Presque Isle, where the modern Wayne Blockhouse now stands.

In 1809, Wayne’s son Isaac rode up to Fort Presque Isle to relocate Wayne’s remnants to their family plot in the graveyard of St. David's Episcopal Church in Radnor, Pennsylvania. In order to be able to transport his father’s body, Isaac decided to have the corpse boiled in a pot

remove the remaining flesh from the bones. He put the bones into two saddlebags and rode off ….and to hear the whole story and the haunting legend that follows, listen to our interview with Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator of the Hagen History Center. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Plan Your Erie History Adventure: https://www.eriehistory.org/ https://spencerhousebandb.com/ https://www.visiterie.com/

Wayne Continued… Watson-Curtze Mansion and Hagen History Center


Three Author Conversations

World War II was the most destructive conflict in human history. At its peak, the US military drew some 16 million men into its ranks to defeat the Axis Powers. They came from nearly every walk of life – farmers, tradesmen, teachers, lawyers, professional athletes, and even Hollywood celebrities. But whether they came from the wheat fields of Kansas, the streets of New York, the backlots of Tinseltown, or the dugouts of Fenway Park, these

everyday heroes answered the call when their country needed them. They were ordinary men who accomplished extraordinary things. Today, we call them the "Greatest Generation."

“The Combat Diaries” recounts the harrowing tales of more than a dozen heroic veterans. Members of the Greatest Generation are leaving us at the rate of several hundred per day.

Indeed, the youngest veterans of World War II are now in their nineties. “The Combat Diaries” by award-winning author Mike Guardia is a testament to their enduring legacy.

Listen to Mike’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

More: www.MikeGuardia.com



Debut author Cathy A. Lewis hits the scene with a historical fiction novel that looks into Hitler’s deadly plans nine years before the start of World War II and the Holocaust. Lewis came up with the idea after rediscovering a small, tattered suitcase belonging to her deceased father featuring his daily journal and mementos from his six-week trek in 1933 through Europe with his Boy Scout Troop on their way to the 4th World Scout Jamboree held in Godollo, Hungary.

“The Road We Took: Four Days in Germany 1933” is the epic tale of an American Boy Scout who discovers by coincidence four desperate Jewish citizens attempting to escape Nazi Germany. Fascinating characters come together in a narrative of extreme courage, budding adolescent love, and their fight for survival in


When Bruce Duncan, a battlefront surgeon, returns after WWII to a small town in Pennsylvania to open a general practice, the ravages of his war aren’t over. Haunted by images of soldiers he tried to save, his own near-death experiences, and a lost love, Bruce has little respite before new battles grip him. Bruce’s brother, a decorated fighter pilot, is facing his own trauma, and refuses to accept

help. A former friend wages a vicious campaign to stop Bruce from uncovering the dangers that could shutter a local industry where silicosis is killing the workers. And Bruce must decide between the slim prospect of reuniting with the Englishwoman who chose her family over him and a growing attraction to a trail-blazing woman doctor.

With a story that moves from post-war America

this gripping novel.

Listen to Cathy’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. More: https://www.cathyalewis.com

back to the killing fields of Alsace and to England under the siege of German rockets, “A Stream to Follow” by internationally recognized psychiatrist Jess Wright gives fresh vision for paths to healing.

Watch Dr. Wright’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. More: https://jesswrightmd.com/


Three Author Conversations Covering Combat Leadership, Espionage & Slavery, Missing People & Political Turmoil…


A 1950 West Point graduate, Paul Gorman entered the officer ranks during the inaugural years of the Cold War. Like many of his classmates, Gorman served on the frontlines of Korea. Assigned to the 32d Infantry Regiment, he was decorated for valor in the numerous hilltop battles of 1952. Following the Korean Conflict, he commanded an infantry company in West

Germany, where his daily duties revolved around defending NATO from the Red Menace.

Between his two combat tours in Vietnam, Gorman became the principal architect of The Pentagon Papers, and served on the US delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. During the darkest days of the post-Vietnam malaise, Gorman stood at the forefront of revitalizing the US Army’s training methods as it transitioned to an all-volunteer force. In his last assignment, Paul Gorman served as Commander-in-Chief of US Southern Command – during the time of Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and when the

US was actively supporting the Contras in Nicaragua. He retired as a four-star General in 1985.

In the biography “Danger Forward: The Forgotten Wars of General Paul F. Gorman,” award-winning author Mike Guardia recounts the life and legacy of a true visionary and forgotten hero of the latter 20th Century.

Watch Mike’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. More: www.MikeGuardia.com



“Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth” by Claire Bellerjeau and Tiffany Yecke Brooks is a fascinating historical narrative that takes place in the North during the 18th century and details the intertwining of two lives, a Revolutionary War spy Robert Townsend and an enslaved woman,

known only as Elizabeth or Liss. Robert Townsend, one of America’s first spies, is credited with being instrumental in the colonies’ victory in the Revolutionary War. Liss’ life travails, as laid out in this riveting creative nonfiction, coupled with her intelligence, beauty, and prowess, position her as a new figure in the founding story of America.

The book shares how Liss was first enslaved in Oyster Bay on Long Island, NY in the 1770’s during the Revolutionary War by Townsend’s family. Townsend became a spy for George


Award-winning author Tessa Bridal was born and raised in Uruguay, leaving with her family when she was 20. Now, she returns to chronicle the stories of those who disappeared during the country’s political turmoil -- following the stories of families, their loss, and their resilience in her book, “The Dark Side of Memory.”

“The Dark Side of Memory” is a gripping and incisive narrative of the multi-generational effect of the extremist military dictatorships in Uruguay and Argentina, as told to the author by families of the disappeared. Through her retelling, Bridal

Washington and a key member of the legendary Culper Spy Ring. She escaped with a British commander named Col. Simcoe, later was r e-enslaved in New York City, and after the war was separated from her toddler son and transported to Charleston, South Carolina where she was enslaved yet again.

Watch Claire & Tiffany’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. More: https://www.espionageandenslavement.com

elevates the stories of the overlooked, voiceless, and forgotten humans behind political turmoil. Watch Tessa’s Big Blend Radio interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean. More: https://tessabridal.com/


More than just a mobility aid, the cane can be a weapon, indicate stature, denote high status, or be used as a fashion accessory. From the staff of the legendary Monkey King in the classic Chinese Journey to the West, or the stylized crosiers carried by high-ranking prelates from the Roman Catholic church to the truncheon wielded by Mr. Punch in puppet shows, canes are embedded in the culture of almost every country around the globe.

Roving the map with one hand and thumbing through history books with the other, “A Visual History of Walking Sticks and Canes” (Rowman & Littlefield) by Anthony Moss seeks not only to introduce the collector to the diverse wealth of canes available but also to entertain the casual reader.

Presenting a historical context on both practical and ceremonial usage, this beautiful book is a comprehensive study of walking canes from around the world, dating from the distant past to the modern-day. It. There are 898 full-color specially shot pictures showcasing the celebrated A&D Collection of canes, each with a history and story.

Anthony Moss joined Big Blend Radio to discuss the history and craftmanship of antique canes and walking sticks, as showcased in his book, “A Visual History of Walking Sticks and Canes.” Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.

Anthony Moss is a Rabologist (a collector of walking sticks), Joint Chairman of The Antique Walking Cane Society based in London, a Member of The International Society of Cane Collectors based in the USA, and a regular speaker at Canemania, an International Cane Convention.

More: https://antiquecanes.net


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